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News Now

CU System
Charlotte Metro CU membership spikes 45
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (12/17/08)--Despite media reports of a troubled economy, Charlotte Metro CU has grown its membership by about 45% since the end of September. Many members have joined because they believed they would pay fewer fees than they had at their previous banks, Nathan Tothrow, Charlotte Metro CU marketing vice president, told News Now. The credit union also has doubled the total amount of deposits members have in money market accounts since 2006, Tothrow said. Charlotte Metro’s assets are at $181 million--a jump from $131 million three years ago. The credit union attributes its growth in part to a shaky economy. But a bigger factor was a branding effort Charlotte Metro launched in 2006. The credit union conducted focus groups, and ran television and creative ads to attract consumers. Charlotte Metro began using the word “banking” in its advertising, because many area consumers were not aware of what credit unions had to offer. “They didn’t understand credit-unioning,” Tothrow said. The credit union also was careful how it used the term “membership” so that it didn’t alienate any consumers. “Membership implies exclusivity,” Tothrow said. Charlotte Metro recently opened a fifth brand in West Charlotte, and hopes to expand to another location in South Charlotte next year. It also has plans for a new headquarters building. “We’re running out of room for staff,” he said. “We have new hires planned for 2009.”


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